Gates of Fire: An Epic Novel of the Battle of Thermopylae
In the novel “Gates of Fire”, by Steven Pressfield, the author describes a battle between 300 Spartans and the Persian Army who threatens to invade and take Sparta. A Greek, who goes by the name Xeones, gives his story to a scribe who works for the Persian King Xerxes. One main theme that presents itself very well is the act of Patriotism. Something that one would learn from this novel is very similar to the basics of what it means to be a United States Marine past, present, and future.
At the beginning of the story the character Xeones is only nine years old when he loses his city to an invading force of Persians. He and his cousin Diomache, as well as a slave named Broxieus, seek refuge in the mountains. Xeones survives and learns to be an archer, and travels to Sparta. Diomache heads to Athens, but Broxieus dies. Xeones becomes a battle squire and a sparring partner for a Spartan named Alexandros. Xeones and Alexandros are forced against their will to go with the Spartan Army into battle. The leader of the Spartans, Leonidas selects 300 of his finest to go on a suicide mission picking up allies along the way, equaling out to about 4,000 strong, to fight the Persians, who greatly out-numbered the Spartans. The battle of Thermopylae begins around August 480 BC, and the Spartans bring the troops through a narrow mountain pass with a drop off behind them. On the first day of battle, the Spartans use the mountain pass to their advantage and kill many Persians with only losing a few Greeks. Xerxes learns of a hidden trail that leads behind the Spartans and sends an elite force to annihilate them. Leonidas sends a party to assassinate Xerxes in the middle of the night, but the attempt fails. Leonidas released his allies on the third day, while him and his 300 stay to die at the hands of the Persians. Xerxes beheads Leonidas puts his head on a pike and nails his body to a tree. Xeones...
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